Wendy Alexander MSP has admitted receiving an illegal donation. Her Scottish Liebour colleague, Charlie Gordon MSP, who asked for the donation has resigned as Liebour transport spokesman at the Scottish Parliament.
A property developer in Jersey – Paul Green – made a £950 donation to her leadership campaign through a property company in which he has a controlling share. However, his signature was on the cheque and as a non-UK resident the donation was illegal.
This is the latest in a string of donation-related sleaze that has beset the Liebour Party. Earlier this week No Mandate Brown pledged to repay over £600,000 that had been illegally donated to the Liebour Party and Harriet Harman admitted to receiving illegal donations from the same man during her deputy leadership campaign. Going further back there is the whole Cash for Peerages scandal which, somehow, the Liebour Party managed to get away with.
Whilst it is good that the Liebour Party is being exposed for the corrupt, sleaze-ridden bag of shit that it is, there is a down side. This is all being used as justification by Liebour – which is £29.2m in debt – for state funding of political parties. The last set of tightened rules around financing political parties was, of course, to try and stop Liebour from selling peerages. Shouldn’t alarm bells be ringing at the Electoral Commission by now?
Political parties need to learn to live within their means. State funding of parties is an appalling suggestion – if they do a good job, they will get enough support to keep themselves in the black. If they find that they have such a low level of support that they have to borrow £29.2m to pay bills and fight elections then they clearly aren’t the popular party they claim to be. How will state funding make sure parties get the right amount of money? Based on votes polled at the last election? This is used by the BBC to ensure that small political parties are kept off the TV during elections and votes don’t necessarily equal support. People will vote for one party that they don’t want to get rid of another party they don’t want. What they won’t do is donate money to a party they don’t want and that is a good indication of how much support a party has. In short, the current system is perfectly fair and will continue to be the best way for parties to get money as long as the Electoral Commission and the Police make sure that parties that knowingly break rules on party financing are severely punished.